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Thread: Starting over, advice needed for highland chamber

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    twigs's Avatar
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    Starting over, advice needed for highland chamber

    I grew Nepenthes and Heliamphora reasonably well with a basement setup in St. Louis for about 5 years. After moving to an apartment in Texas, my plants suffered and either died off or I gave them away. Now I'm moving to a house (still in Texas) where I'll have more room. I really want to get a few Nepenthes and do it right this time. I still have some of my old setup but I'm ok with starting over. I absolutely have to have N. aristolochoides so I know I need to get my temps down into the 50's at night. I was never able to get this species to pitcher in my old setup.

    My setup is going to be in a spare 1st floor bedroom with central A/C. I have two options, either one with a south facing window but no option for a window A/C unit, or a north facing window with the option for a window A/C unit.

    I'd really appreciate recommendations on:
    - General setup / enclosure
    - Cooling!!!
    - Lighting
    - Humidifier and/or mister/fogger
    - Automatic watering (DIY or premade)
    - Timers (preferably one that can control lighting, fans, humidity/fogger and watering on separate cycles)

    Thanks in advance! I'm really excited to get back into carnivorous plants!

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    A room with a door you can close and a window to the outside plus a cheapo Craigslist AC window unit is probably your best bet for cooling. I wasn't able to cool off my grow tent until I went that route. Lights can give you all the daytime heat you need. In the winter (or whatever Texas has) you can remove the unit and leave the window open a tiny crack.

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    Enthusiastic Enthusiast Zath's Avatar
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    You could also try a bog-cooler (not sure what they're actually called). The idea is that a fan blows air through a wet filter. The evaporation cools the air, while also adding humidity to the room.

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    Plant Whisperer Bio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zath View Post
    You could also try a bog-cooler (not sure what they're actually called). The idea is that a fan blows air through a wet filter. The evaporation cools the air, while also adding humidity to the room.
    Swamp or evaporative coolers. While they don't cool enough on their own, one coupled with an AC will humidify the dry air, as well as provide further cooling.

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    RL7836's Avatar
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    Check out Swords setup
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

    *** Growlist / Wants / Offers ***
    (with Pics)

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    If you can find a window ac unit that goes below 61, please let us know. I've used ge and haier units to keep highlanders cool but none go below 61, I think my ge's only go to 64. I'm skeptical that a swamp cooler will have the oomph to drop temps another 10 degrees but may very well be wrong. If you search through the threads here there have been several about modifying chest freezers or refrigerators, which I tend to believe is your only viable option to get 50 F at night in Texas. T12 shoplights are cheap, I've grown carnivorous plants under them for 20 years, but the plants must be very close to the tubes. (And as you'll see in Jeff's article, they were more than adequate for his Nepenthes.) T5's are much more efficient, but they are also much more expensive up front. Jeff Shafer certainly knows how to grow highland Nepenthes well, here's his solution to essentially the same problem you are facing:

    http://carnivorousplants.org/cpn/art...32n1p20_23.pdf

    One thing I found when I added a thermostatic controller to a huge (~3x3x8 foot) chest freezer (to basically turn it into a refrigerator) was that the internals seemed to run much hotter. I had to add a supplemental fan to keep the components cool. I needed a giant fridge in the chest freezer form factor; I never used this machine for plant growth. But after seeing the need for that supplemental fan, I'm just mentioning it as something you may need to watch out for if you pursue the chest freezer method. Also, Jeff used a thermostat that had to be placed inside the freezer, but this is not necessary. Grainger sells at least one unit with an external remote probe, that's what I used, it will allow you to regulate the freezer temp without placing a big box inside the grow area.

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    BS Bulldozer SubRosa's Avatar
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    The efficiency of a swamp cooler is highly dependent on how humid your climate is. TX is a big place with widely varying climactic conditions, and while a swamp cooler might be just the thing in Amarillo, it probably wouldn't be much help in Galveston.
    Judge not lest ye be judged creates a cesspool. Judge others and prepare to be judged by them.
    Just know when to keep the verdict to yourself.

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